A love letter to Dublin, from a Kerry girl born and bred

Sometimes when you live in a city you can forget just how special it is. This IMAGE writer decided to be a tourist in Dublin for a weekend and here's what she discovered.

Ah, Dublin. Oh, how I love to curse you. I get angry about the traffic, how slow the Luas goes, why it takes one hour to travel two kilometres, and those cursed slow walkers.

But then, you do something unexpected and I fall in love all over again. I forget why I doubted you in the first place because Dublin, you have a spark -and sometimes I very much forget that.

Now, that doesn't mean I'll be skipping down O' Connell street shouting 'UP DA DUBS' anytime soon. I am Kerry born and bred. The green and gold of home is my lifeline. However, you are my adopted home and I spend far too much time in your traffic to complain. I may as well embrace the yellow and blue of Dublin Bus and its characters, instead of cursing the junctions of College Green.


Related: 20 of Dublin's best cheap eats

When you live in a city, every day becomes mundane. You tend to forget about the artistry, the culture and the buzz of the city. After two years, the excitement of being somewhere new quietly slipped away and it all began to feel the same. It is important to remember how lucky I am to have the opportunity to live and work in a city which has given me some of the best opportunities in life so far.

This is why I decided to rediscover the city in one weekend. I, Édaein O' Connell, was going to be a tourist in Dublin. The culchie was going to the Big Smoke, and by God was she going to make the most of it.


I ate...

It goes without saying that Dublin is a hub for culinary excellence. With a wide range of delicacies on offer, it is a known fact that when it comes to making a decision on where to eat dinner–you will never make one. As for most places, make sure to book in advance. On the first night, tapas were on the mind. Nowhere does them better than Las Tapas De Lolas on Wexford Street.


For our second night in the capital, we decided to take things further afield and trekked to Glasnevin. The Washerwoman Restaurant is an absolute must if you are anywhere near that part of town. The food is delicious and the atmosphere chilled. The cornflake-crusted chicken breast is a delicacy I'd highly recommend, as is the salted caramel brownie. Don't leave without trying their sweet potato fries!

After an early checkout, we brunched in Alma in Portobello. This place is a sensory overload for flavours and their Buttermilk Pancakes with Dulce de Leche, brandy and orange mascarpone will send you into a food coma (in a good way). Alma has also perfected the art of making the best iced coffee. Tick and double tick.

I will most definitely be back as it soothed my notions addiction.

I drank...

Break my heart and bank balance Dublin, but you do have some of the very best pubs in the country. The Palace Bar in Temple Bar is a traditional Victorian-era bar and is my very favourite pub in the city.

From the moment you walk in it's homely, welcoming and makes you feel warm and fuzzy. This could be the wine talking but let us believe it's the atmospheric magic. A Tipperary pub, this is the watering hole to go to before any match if you want to feel that indescribable electric buzz of sporting anticipation. It's also perfect for a quiet drink and a chat, and has one of the best snugs in the city.


PS: A Listowel Races sticker adorns a fridge behind the bar and so The Palace gets full marks from me.

We also frequented the Long Hall and L'Geuleton and the night may or may not have ended in both Ryan's and Copper Face Jacks (I am from 'down the country' after all).

I saw...

Staying true to form, I went to see Copper Face Jacks The Musical at the Olympia Theatre. It would have been a sin if I hadn't. Entertaining, funny, mad and addressing all of the county's stereotypes, it is a very well-done, homegrown musical. While its run has finished, it made me realise how much there is to see on stage. From The Bodyguard at the Bórd Gáis Theatre to The Snapper at the Abbey Theatre, we should all get out more and make the most of the wonderful top-class entertainment our capital has to offer.

I stayed...


There is a lot of choices when it comes to hotels and sometimes this can be overwhelming. I wanted something convenient, with easy access to the city, and I found the perfect fit in the form of the Clayton Charlemont.

It is also next to the Barge pub and overlooking the canal which gave the atmosphere I was looking for. I wanted to stay within a 10-minute walk from St Stephen's Green so this was an ideal base for the weekend's debauchery. We were greeted with a DIY Solero cocktail on arrival and a room fit for a queen. Light, airy and spacious the room instantly relaxed us (as did the cocktail). The Lockside Bar in the hotel also does some of the best bar food I have tried. I had the best sleep of my life and enjoyed one of the most delicious breakfasts I've ever had. There is no pastry or hot sausage the breakfast buffet didn't possess.

The stay was so good that I advised my parents to camp there for the upcoming All-Ireland football final. This is a lot for a culchie to say because we are very, very hard to please.

I visited...

Dublin really does have it all. From stunning views of the coast to cultural feasts–it is a gem. Working in Dun Laoghaire means I don't make the trip as much as I should outside of work hours. We decided it was time for a walk and some sea air and there is no better place for this than Killiney Hill. With Darts from the city centre, it should be on everyone's to-do list if you are inside the Pale. On a clear day, you could be in the Maldives, and even in low-cloud, there is something instantly breathtaking about it. Walking the hill is a plus if you want to undo the weekend's indulgences.

Back in the city centre, the National Gallery of Ireland is a work of art in itself. If you have not visited already than do it as soon as you can. It's very calming to just walk around a gallery without a care in the world, and best of all you can visit for free. Renailssance runs in the gallery until September 12th and is a collaboration between the gallery and Tropical Popical, displaying detailed images of the multiple artistic responses; mixed-media installations and real nail art.


It is also worth mentioning that the gallery has implemented various tools to make the experience more enjoyable for those with mobility or sensory issues, vision or hearing impairments and chronic pain. You can find out more about it here.

The final verdict

Dublin, though we have our ups and downs, you truly are a joy. I implore anyone and everyone to experience everything you possess and explore every last bit of it.

You are in my heart, but I am still praying that Kerry wins on September 2 and brings the Sam Maguire back to its rightful home.

I love you, but not that much.

Read more: The best beauty habit to adopt while away on holiday


Read more: We're restricted': Irish mother on the importance of sensory-friendly workshops

Read more: The ultimate guide to surviving the summer holidays at home with children

The image newsletter